Has anybody ever accurately described what pain is?

How things hurt. Where they hurt, and for God’s sake what’s the point of pain anyway?

When it’s our pain we try to get all descriptive and articulate– to describe the feeling in as much gruesome detail so that whoever we’re speaking with knows exactly how much it hurts.

I feel like my head is going to explode!

It’s like someone’s got a knife in my back

I feel like somebody just kicked me in the stomach.

Is it a dull pain, a sharp pain or an ache?

The explanation of your pain never actually matches what you’re feeling. How could it? How could anybody else really know how bad it hurts?

Dodger fans know.

Some pain, you know is coming. There’s that split second right after you cut the corner too closely around the coffee table and whack your shin on it where you literally have time to think to yourself, “whoa, this is gonna hurt!” And it does.

While speaking in tongues in between syllables of other words, you check for blood.

What about the pain you don’t see coming. What if it actually starts to hurt before you drop the brick on your foot?

What if the second you realize that there is no describing how bad you’re about to feel happens while you’re happy, confident and smiling — almost euphoric?

That’s how I felt the instant the ball left Jimmy Rollins’ bat headed for the only place in the stadium where it could hurt the worst.

Even though it would take nearly 10 seconds for Carlos Ruiz to score the winning run all the way from first base, the disbelief had set in already and my knees were buckling.

I quickly got that butterfly feeling in my stomach– the same freight that I feel when somebody jumps out from behind a door to scare me, or if I know I just got caught doing something wrong.

I had already eaten too many cookies after dinner and I could feel them rising to the back of my throat even before Ruiz reached third base.

I had to lean up against a retaining wall in the stands down the third base line partly for support and partly for my own protection from the mayhem of Phillie fans dressed in red all around me.

Just seconds earlier I had felt fat and happy, content and sure.

I shot a quick look at the only other Dodger fan anywhere in my area and he had the same dumb look on his face as the one on mine— no words spoken.

The place was going absolutely nuts, white towels waving, high 5’s slapping, strangers jumping up and down, hugging.

I couldn’t hear a thing. I suddenly realized how cold it was.

How long did it take for that ball to stop rolling?

With one of the fastest men in baseball, Matt Kemp, helplessly trying to chase it down. When did the ache start for him? As a player he believes that somehow he can do something super-human… maybe slow everything down just enough to change what the rest of us already know is going to happen?

We actually hurt before he did.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking we are taking it worse than Kemp is. Or Broxton. Or anybody else that pulls on that Dodger uniform.

This game was their passion long before it was ours.

We throw our love and devotion behind these guys. We buy the tickets and the jersey’s with Ethier’s name on the back and rush home to listen to Vin.

Sometimes we even go so far as to think we could manage better than Joe or make better trades than Ned. Sure we would have thrown a slider instead of the fastball to that guy in the 5Th inning of last nights game…

We live an die with them all summer long, dreaming about play-off magic and all the glory that goes along with it— and almost never think about how the losers feel.

But we will never LIVE it like they do.

So now the Dodgers are at the point of the most overused cliche’ in all of sport. A “must win game”. In fact, they have the ultimate “must win” situation. They’ll have to do it three games in a row in order to taste any of that glory.

Game 4 taught us all a little something about pain.

I guess I like mine better when there’s blood.

— Steve Lyons


  1. dodgerdope

    Well described in words, Psycho.
    I was so darn nervous as a fan I actually clicked away from the last four innings of the game, and was only brave enough to peek at the final score on my mobile device. Still had that gut-wrenching feeling though.

    It’s been almost 18 hours, and I’m just now shedding the hangover. Glad to hear that as a former player, you can have a fan perspective as well. I work with a guy who used to play ball, and he just doesn’t get us baseball fans (see Jeff Kent), and for a while there I feared all you former players felt the same way.

  2. dodgerdope

    Were you frustrated at all with home plate umpire Ted Barrett?

    I take back what I said earlier about being nervous. I’d say 50% nervous and 50% frustrated as all heck.

  3. glsa

    Very well said Lyons!! I admire your ability to not only view it from the fan’s point of view but telling in a way where the fans can get a little better insight from the players point of view. Having known a number of players in my day I can see where their state of mind needs to be. They don’t have the luxury of giving up, they still have that dream and no matter how far fetched it may be, it’s still the dream!! The same dream I?m sure they had growing up on the sandlots, little leagues and minors!! To be in the playoffs with the brass ring so close yet so far. I truly do believe our boys believe they can still do it and I for one will believe with them, no matter how difficult that may be.

    Go Dodgers in 2009 !!

  4. thinkingblue

    WOOW this is just a painfull post. The playoff magic will happen! It is not over yet! Our boys can do this! WIN 3 IN A ROW BOYS!

  5. janejohn

    Steve, I am wondering the same thing, about the home plate umpire in the last game. Normally, if they are inconsistent in their calls, it evens out. It’s hard on both teams. But this was the first time I can recall feeling totally ripped. TBS even showed a graphic of an at bat when Wolf threw 3 strikes, all of which were called balls and he was in a 3-0 hole. On the other side, it seemed that the Phils pitchers got all the close calls in their favor.

    Is this just a fan’s imagination, or did you see it too?

    Thanks for the great post…I felt the same thing. All I can do is remember all the games during which I was in pain, only to be rescued from it by Dodger miracles I did not expect.


  6. dodgerdope

    Well seasons over.
    I don’t know the future of your broadcasting partner, Mr Collins. I personally did not DISLIKE Eric, but I know he took a lot of heat, especially late in the season, when a certain sportswriter wrote of his dreading Collins on the mic if and when they were to clinch on the road.

    Will you hang in their Steve? I know you probably get juicy offer after juicy offer from other clubs to be their fulltime color guy, but your dedication, and your “seemingly” genuine relationship with the Dodgers is good for a fan’s psyche. The Club’s in uncertain mode right now:
    1) Who’s gonna be the ownership a year or two from now?
    2) Why the heck’s Don Mattingly interviewing for a job in Cleveland, when he seemingly has a job with LA after Joe leaves?
    3) Who’s gonna fill in for Vin after next season?
    4) Who’s going to successfully close meaningful games for us in the postseason without melting down?
    5) What are we going to do with the empty shell of Manny, when his body completely catches up to his age and abuse?
    6) Will Russell Martin ever regain his All-Star form?
    7) All this talk of remodeling the Ravine. Are these plans scraped with the pending divorce?
    and last but not least…
    8) Is anyone in their right mind going to send their young daughters aboard the Dodgers Mexican Riviera Cruise knowing Steve Lyons and Steve Garvey are on the prowell?


    I HATE THE PHILLIES!! Which why I pose this question, What do you think about the Dodgers pursuing Roy Oswalt? I think this could make us a legit contender to actually win a world series. We have great offense, especially once ethier gets back and we have been suprised by Ely, Kuroda, and Billingsley in the ways they have performed. If we aquired Oswalt, would’t we dominate with two aces (O and Kershaw)? What are your thoughts?

  8. Blue'62

    Hey Thanks, Steve! Love your comments and all your do in your role with the Dodgers…I really enjoy your informed approach to the game (as an MLB Player!) and your no-nonsense takes both here and on TV with Eric (keep him in line for us, will you?)

    Speaking of pain, we fans are feeling our own brand of pain…here’s this old fan’s recipe for a Dodger stew that might break through these recent doldrums (i.e. the last 22 years!):

    1. Trade Matt Kemp, Russell Martin, Jonathan Broxton for a few key players who actually have demonstrated a thirst for victory, and who – like Mr. Barajas of late – feel it a privilege to don the Blue…
    2. Rebuild around Pitching and Speed…hmmm, the baseball approaches that Dodger Stadium was built to accentuate! Wow, what a concept!
    3. Require Dodgers players to be well-groomed and well-uniformed! Please! This means no facial hair, no out-of-control locks, no baggy pants, no oversized jerseys…Let’s return to yesteryear in these mannerisms, because all of us in business know that you perform better when you perceive pride in appearance…
    4. As an organization, cease immediately attempting to “keep up with the modern age.” Specifically, the pinnacle of Baseball was without doubt the 50’s and 60’s…no walk-up music, no stadium adverts plastered all over (except, in Dodger Stadium a tasteful little 76 Ball perched on top of the stadium scoreboard and Trinitron). Simply put: Recreate the Dodger world of Walter O’Malley.
    5. Discipline players for not running out ground balls, not exerting full effort in the field, expressing poor team attitudes (the Jeff Kent effect), etc. successful Dodger Baseball has always been founded upon fundamentals…

    Well, Steve…we can only dream of such things…after all, this is 2010 and Dodger Baseball is only a shadow of what it once was…

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